One week to adjournment, legislators push budget billsby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — With one week left before the Legislature's constitutional deadline to adjourn, Gov. Pawlenty and legislative leaders still have not reached a budget deal.
Pawlenty and legislative leaders met briefly Sunday, but did not agree on how to erase the state's $935 million projected budget deficit.
DFLers who control the House and Senate say they will start passing budget bills today, even though the governor has threatened to veto them.
Negotiators working on the Tax Bill, the Finance Bill, the health care reform bill and an education funding bill have been told to wrap up their bills.
The House and Senate could vote on those bills today. Rep. Mindy Greiling, D-Roseville, said they will pass an education finance bill without Pawlenty's backing, and may try to override a veto, if one occurs.
"We have to try every tool in our toolbox for our students and apparently the governor isn't using anything but a hammer. So we have to get out other tools, ya know, the wrench and the screwdriver. And this is something that he can hopefully sign, and if not, then individual house members can hopefully see their way clear to support the students."
Republican House Minority Leader Marty Seifert said the main disagreement is over the best way Pawlenty has called a linchpin to any agreement.
"The linchpin has turned into a grenade pin and I just hope that they can get serious because it looks like, in my opinion, the whole deal is based upon having a balanced budget that reflects everyone's priorities and meaningful property tax relief and I just don't see that happening right now," Seifert said.
Lawmakers have one week left to finish their work before the constitutional deadline to adjourn.